Business news in brief

Kazakhstan’s first national low-cost airline, Fly Arystan, will launch in the first half of the year, Kazakh Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development Roman Sklyar told a March government meeting. Fly Arystan will operate similarly to low-cost airlines easyJet, Indigo, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia and, in its first year of operation, will transport up to 1 million passengers at prices half the cost of Air Astana flights. It will operate a fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft configured to an all-economy class of 180 seats. Sklyar also noted that the ministry and Air Astana will begin the accreditation procedure for flights to the United States this year, with the intergovernmental agreement on Kazakh-U.S. air communication to be signed in March.

A wind farm with a 100-megawatt capacity is under construction in the Akmola Region, said Central Asian Fuel and Energy Company Green Energy Director Yedil Saryev at a Feb. 27-28 summit on renewable energy among Central Asian countries. The wind farm’s first station, with a 50-megawatt capacity and employing approximately 300 people and more than 130 units of heavy machinery, will launch in the middle of the year. The second station will launch in 2020. The wind farm will provide electricity to more than 10,000 households and will be equipped with 30 wind turbines. It will contribute to Kazakhstan’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, with an expected reduction equivalent to emissions from more than 113,000 cars per year.

Kazakhstan’s food prices in February 2019 are 6.6 percent higher than in February 2018, reports the Kazakh Ministry of National Economy’s Committee on Statistics. Within this time period, prices for baked goods, cereals, meat, fish, dairy products, sugar, confectionery, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages and oils and fats increased, while fruits and vegetables became cheaper. The average price for granulated sugar was 236 tenge (US$0.62) per kilogramme in February and 195 tenge (US$0.52) in February last year, and the average price for cottage cheese was 1,570 tenge (US$4.15) per kilogramme in February and 1,511 tenge (US$4) in February last year.

Kazakhstan’s passenger train speed increased by 585 kilometres per day, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy’s (KTZ) Backbone Network Chief Engineer Kaiyrbay Urynbayev told a February briefing, reports Inform.kz. In 2018, KTZ improved the quality of 1,015 kilometres of tracks and overhauled 867 kilometres of tracks, he said. KTZ is Kazakhstan’s national railway company, and develops, operates and maintains railway transportation in the country and internationally.

Abylai Khan University of International Relations and World Languages, Omirkhan Baikonurov University of Zhezkhazgan, the Kazakh Leading Academy of Architecture and Civil Engineering and Almaty University of Energy and Communications were auctioned March 7 by the Kazakh Ministry of Finance, reports the ministry’s press service. Bidding began at 1.71 billion tenge (US$4.52 million) for Abylai Khan University of International Relations and World Languages, at 336.4 million tenge (US$889,778) for Omirkhan Baikonurov University of Zhezkhazgan, at 2.52 billion tenge (US$6.67 million) for the Kazakh Leading Academy of Architecture and Civil Engineering and at 1.4 billion tenge (US$3.7 million) for Almaty University of Energy and Communications.

Development Bank of Kazakhstan Chair Bolat Zhamishev and First Heartland Bank Board Chair Yerbol Orynbayev were recently appointed to Tsesnabank’s board of directors, reports the bank’s press service. They join Shigeo Katsu, Yevgeniy Pan, Bolat Zhamishev and Daulet Kabybayev in managing the bank. Tsesnabank was founded in 1992 and provides corporate, small-to-medium enterprise, insurance and retail banking products.